I recently took my boys to the vet (to get a bruised cere looked at). As a follow up to my other post a few days ago about the bruised cere: both boys are fine! However, my vet did mention that Caesar was a bit heavy (39 grams..1 gram away from "overweight"), and that Petrie (for being part British budgie) seemed a little thin (only 35 grams).
Petrie's favorite thing to eat is veggies, carrots, quinoa, broc, etc. So the vet thought he might be a little underweight because he eats so much water rich food, whereas Caesar just munches on seeds and pellets all day and doesn't bother with the fresh stuff. She recommended I try to soak some pellets and mix them in with the veggies so Petrie can put on a little bulk while still enjoying his favorite meal.
Anybody have suggestions on how to soak pellets? Should I soak them in something tasty like fresh fruit juice, or just water? How long does one soak them? Do I let them train for a while before mixing them in with veggies? I assume soaked pellets should be removed faster than dry pellets...
Or if anyone has any advice on how to bulk up one cagemate while trying to make sure the other doesn't get any fatter that would be most appreciated! Petrie tends to be more adventurous in what he eats, so if there are any bird recipes that are good that I can bake/make... he'll likely be the one trying/eating them.
p.s. They really hate being separated, so putting them in separate cages for meals can be a pain. They both love being hand fed by me (the little babies), so I've been trying to hand feed Petrie more than Caesar. Though that makes me feel quite guilty as a bird-mother! Poor Caesar probably thinks I'm picking favorites.
I add pellets to my birds veggie mix as well, but I don't soak them at all. I just mix them in and within a few minutes, they've absorbed a lot of moisture. Give that a try first, to save some time and mess.
If you find that your pellets aren't going soft, then I would just soak them for a few minutes in a bowl of water, drain, and add them to the veg mix, or even mix in some seeds.
You'll probably have some trial and error before you figure out what works best of you.
I'm wondering if soaking them in water plus a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) will be enticing to a budgie. I've never tried it before, because I just thought of it ! lol
Thanks for the advice. I tried a longer pellet soaking after my first post (15 minutes), and his pellets (those rainbow zupreem ones) basically just turned into a thick paste. The plus was that he probably ate some of it to get to his carrots and quinoa.... the downside though was that his face was just covered in mush. He normally gets veggies all over his face... but the rainbow patterned mush made his messy eating look more extreme!
I'll try your suggestion tonight, hopefully he'll nibble on some pellets without getting pellet mush all over his face, perches, cage, floor, etc.
If you boil an egg and mix it up with some veggies, it could help fatten Petrie up. You might want to hand feed Petrie some sunflower seeds by pinching the sunflower seed in between your fingers so Caesar doesn't see and feed him lower fat seeds. I've also read that chia seeds are relatively fatty.
For soaking pellets, I boil the water and then soak the pellets. It immediately turns my pellets into mush.
You could also teach Caesar to fly to your finger. It'll be a good way for him to exercise and lose weight. Even if his wings are clipped, he should still be able to fly a few feet. Flock talk has a lot of YouTube videos on training your bird so I would check it out.
I also have an underweight bird, Plumpy, and tried everything to get her to eat pellets. I heard soaking them in juice might entice her. All it took was a few drops and they were complete mush/paste which my bird hated. I have had much better luck using the Harrison's High Potency Mash which is a powder and I can sprinkle on foods. My bird really likes seeds that have been soaked over night (she prefers the softer texture) so the powder sticks a bit to the moist seeds. I can see this might work well on fruits and veggies if they are rinsed first and are a bit damp. You can probably grind up the pellets you already have into a powder with a rolling pin or a spice grinder.
I also make a powder out of sunflower seeds or nuts as my bird won't eat tiny pieces of them but nibbles on the powder. Usually you can get hulled sunflower seeds meant for wild birds pretty cheap. Recently we have had success with a product called Avigain which is also powder. It smells like maple (from the fenugreek). Plumpy also loves steel cut oats which I've heard can promote weight gain, maybe your bird will nibble on these along with the veggies?
Finally my underweight bird started to eat pellets when I gave her a new companion who eats pellets. The mirror perch with a little spot for food is a hit for all my birds and is preferred over pellets in any other type of food bowl I've tried. https://a.co/bJbRWDu
I do have one very overweight budgie (51g and that is an improvement) and currently Plumpy is up to 27g. Because of the big difference they have to be separated. But I take them out to socialize together or sometimes give them all time together in one cage for a partial day (in between the high calorie meals).
Lastly once a day I let Plumpy out of the cage in the evening for some extra high calorie nibblings while the others sleep or fly around.
I was thinking about adding egg to his food... though I'm a vegan so eggs aren't usually in my house. I know there is "egg food" though I can buy for them at the pet store. Is that stuff way worse for them than the fresh egg option?
Both birds get plenty of exercise doing loops around the living room (neither bird has their wings clipped). I always thought that Caesar flew way more than Petrie, so I'm surprised he is the heavier bird... maybe its muscle? Haha. More likely its because he just really likes to eat.
Petrie does like oats (and so do I, so I always have them on hand), so I can make those more often for him. I'll try the sunflower seed trick as well.
That foraging toy is an excellent idea! They have foraging toys, but they don't play with them too often. I've never tried hiding food in them. That would definitely motivate Caesar to do a little more work for his food.